Make it a Retro Date Night with These Diner & Drive-In Pairings
We’ve paired a sampling of Ontario’s classic drive-ins with nearby old-school diner options. Start off with patio service at one of these classic diners, then cap off your night at the local drive-in with a retro evening under the stars. With 18 drive-ins currently operating in Ontario, chances are you’ll find the perfect combo close to you.
Note: Showtimes may differ due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and season so confirm in advance before visiting cinemas or restaurants for hours of operation, new rules, restrictions and reservation requirements and observe signage at the property. Most theatres sell snacks and sodas and ask that you do not bring outside food into the theatre grounds. Do bring comfy pillows, blankets and a portable radio. Find the closest location to you!
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Prince Albert’s Diner + Mustang Drive-in London, London
Catch a new release in an old-fashioned setting at London’s Mustang Drive-in, a family friendly (and dog friendly) local favourite. Another area gem is 1950s themed Prince Albert’s Diner, known for comfort eats like the Bonanza Burger or the Extra Loaded Grilled Cheese Sandwich. The outdoor theatre is a 20 minute drive from Prince Albert’s.
Fifties Diner + 5 Drive-in Theatre, Oakville
Order a famous Montreal smoked meat sandwich or homestyle pizza at Fifties Diner before settling in for a new release or cult film at this seasonal drive-in, a long-standing Oakville landmark.
Webers + Muskoka Drive-in, Muskoka
This cash-only theatre showcases new and classic favourites on a big screen atop a giant rock surrounded by gorgeous pines … just so Muskoka! Pit-stop first at Webers, a cottage country staple since 1963, famous for its charcoal barbequed burgers, bucket of fries and milkshakes served from a converted train car.
The Vic Drive-in + The Mustang Drive-in PEC, Prince Edward County
Order your food and have it delivered directly to your car at The Vic Drive-in (formally the Vic Café) in Picton, then catch a double feature under the stars every night from Wednesday to Sunday until the first week of October.
Brant Drive-in + Hanover Drive-in Theatre, Hanover
Plan ahead for this location as payment is cash only and the exact amount is appreciated. Check their website for the cost of general, triple bill or ‘dusk til dawn’ four-feature marathon movie nights. Open 11am to 11pm on weekends, Brant Drive-in in Walkerton is a great option for pre-movie meal or late night eats.
The Lake Hound + Starlite Drive-in Theatre Grand Bend, Grand Bend
Open since 1958, this traditional drive-in movie theatre features new releases as well as retro classics on two screens. It’s the prefect spot to chill out after brunch, tacos or a giant vegan planet bowl from The Lake Hound, a local landmark serving daily breakfast favs and classic comfort food with a healthy edge Thursday to Sunday.
That Place on Cameron + Lindsay Twin Drive-in Theatre, Kawartha Lakes
Open rain or shine, this legendary drive-in is celebrating its 85th anniversary this year. After patio dining lakeside at That Place on Cameron in Fenelon Falls, enjoy two features back-to-back.
Angel’s Diner + Mustang Drive-in Guelph, Guelph
From all-day breakfast to baby back ribs or hamburgers, fuel up at the original Angel’s Diner at 23 Wellington Street before opening credits at the drive-in, about 10 minutes north of town.
Big Momma’s Soul Food + The Stardust Drive-in Theatre Newmarket, East Gwillimbury
Enjoy a tasty Caribbean twist on the classic roadside diner with an authentic menu of Jamaican patties, fried dumplings, Jerk Chicken or Oxtail before movie night.
Located between Perth and Smith Falls, the Port Elmsley drive-in aired its first film under the stars in 1953 and has been entertaining families and friends ever since. Fill up first at Peter’s Family Fare Restaurant in Perth. Hint: be sure to leave room for an ice cream Sammie or their famous cream pie.
Electric Diner + Starlite Drive-in Hamilton, Hamilton
Pre-order for take-out or soak up the vintage vibe with all time favourites like mac n cheese, burgers, hot dog sliders or poutine on the patio at Electric Diner in Hamilton. The Starlite Drive-in Theatre is about 20 minutes from downtown in Stoney Creek.
Fritzies Fries + The Oxford Drive-in Theatre, Woodstock
What started as a small fry truck operation over 45 years ago, Fritzies Fries now serves Woodstock’s finest fries (and more) in two restaurant locations. See the stars under the stars at a family-run, recently restored roadside drive-in that features movies and music concerts.
Check out Rose’s Family Restaurant on Facebook for handwritten daily specials like homestyle pulled pork poutine, grilled ham and cheese or pizza burgers. Then catch your favourite blockbuster at this single screen outdoor theatre just south of Chatham-Kent in southwestern Ontario.
Lester D’s Reel Diner + Can-View Drive-in, Fonthill
Located west of Niagara Falls and south of St. Catharines, this local attraction features a ‘car load’ Thursdays special – great for your social bubble. Film buffs, start your date at movie-themed Lester D’s Reel Diner with a Rise of the Planet of the Eggs or The Good, the Bad and the Ugly brunch or select the Edward Chicken Hands or The Poultrygeist from It’s Entrée, My Dear Watson.
Conveniently located just off Highway 400 nearby in Barrie, Flashback Diner is an authentic retro diner with classic breakfasts, burgers, sandwiches, a great kids’ menu and 50’s style milkshakes, sundaes and banana splits. Complete with the vintage marquee sign, the old-school drive-in is a 10 minute trip off Highway 11 north of Barrie.
The Bonanza + Skylight Drive-in, Pembroke
Take in two feature movies back to back at a historic outdoor theatre in the heart of the Ottawa Valley. The Bonanza offers take-out and curbside service for classic sandwiches, wraps and speciality pizzas, perfect for pre-movie eats.
The Big Apple + Port Hope Drive-in, Cobourg
It is worth the drive to experience The Big Apple in Colborne prior to your movie night. This roadside attraction features a bakery, cidery, country store and market and, of course, the Smokehouse Kitchen serving a mouth-watering pulled pork sandwich, a brisket meal with beans and coleslaw or a smoked chicken wrap. Opened in 1947, the Port Hope theatre has the proud distinction as Canada’s longest continually operated drive-in. It’s located between Port Hope and Cobourg south of highway 401, and about 20 minutes from Colborne.